No joke: World Clown Association convention heading to Orlando

Event is March 20-24 at Avanti Palms Resort and Convention Center

ORLANDO, Fla. – Grab your oversized shoes, pile into your little car and be ready to be on “clown nine” for this event coming to Central Florida.

The World Clown Association is headed to Orlando for its convention on March 20-24. The five-day event will be held at the Avanti Palms Resort and Convention Center located on International Drive.

The annual convention moves across the U.S. for three years then takes place in a region outside of the country in its fourth year, according to a news release. Some past oversees conventions have taken place in England. Malaysia, Scotland, Thailand and Canada.

This year’s theme is “A clown for every season.”

“Especially our northern clown friends they get excited, ‘we’re going to Orlando, we’re gonna go to the theme parks and there are so many things to go and do and see.’ I’ve been to other conventions where you’re in a hotel and there’s nothing to do. But here, you have no excuse there is tons of things to do,” said Robin “Pinky Bee” Bryan, President of the World Clown Association. “This is our 40th year and we have clowns from all over the world. We represent at least 30 countries.”

While here, they will be attending educational classes, and participating in competitions – with some focusing on the caring clown and ministry clown with a humanitarian trip to the Orlando Rescue Mission, on Thursday, March 23.

“Through clowning you can change the world one person at a time. One of the areas I specialize in is the caring clown, entertaining at nursing homes, adult and children daycares, and hospitals. I also love ministry clowning by sharing a message through a skit or song,” said Louise Carnesale – also known as LuLU – the 2023 WCA Convention chair.

All competitions are open to the general public and are as follows:

March 21

Makeup competition 9 a.m.

Face Painting competition 1:30 p.m.

Balloons competition 3:30 p.m.

March 22

Group Skits competition 9 a.m.

Single Skit and Variety Act Competition 7 p.m.

March 23

Paradeability 10 a.m.

“There are many reasons people go into clowning, most of us get hooked because we love to bring smiles to people of all ages,” Carnesale said.

According to the release, “If not competing clowns will be attending jams, meetings and classes or socializing making lasting friendships.”

As for the economic impact conventions have in Central Florida, the Orange County Convention Center said the last 2 years they’ve exceeded their projections.

“We’re projecting our contribution this year to be $2.8 billion in economic impact. Compare that to last year we were at $2.3 billion,” said Eric Blanc, OCCC deputy director. “We’re still going uphill. Orlando is in Central Florida. We’re one of the easiest destinations to work in, for conventions to bring their shows, too. What we find with a lot of our conventioneers is their ability to actually come and work and play at the same time.”

“Out of the 160 plus events we do a year, there’s probably 30% to 40% of those are repeat customers. They either come every year or every other year or what we call rotational business where they might come every third or fourth year,” Blanc said.

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About the Authors:

Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.